In Faith, Love, and Overcoming, Dr. Dale describes an impoverished childhood of poverty, abuse, and dysfunctional relations which led him to alcohol, pot, street drugs, pain-killing medications, opioids, and narcotics. Dale dedicates his book to every person addicted to drugs and alcohol still suffering from the experience.
The author is the youngest of six children and product of three generations of alcoholism, familial failings, and futility. Now an osteopathic physician and assistant professor of family medicine at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, he writes retrospectively about personal events (e.g., as a batboy for a men's softball team, he made beer runs by carrying gallon jugs of brew seven to eight times a game) and family losses (when Dale is ten, his parents, abused and abusing themselves and others, finally divorce). He goes to college, drinks excessive amounts of alcohol, uses marijuana frequently, and starts a bizarre relationship with the promiscuous, insensitive, rejecting Michelle. She becomes pregnant with his child, then gets an abortion against his wishes. These events result in more depression, and he makes a suicide attempt with an overdose of sleeping pills. With characteristic understatement, Dale describes being mugged for thirty-eight cents, then gang-raped, as one "tremendous nightmare." Later, Dale goes berserk in the hospital, starts drinking with his father, then drops out of college and becomes homeless. He survives by living in a Volkswagen van, and an occasional stairwell on the streets, always searching for restrooms, meals, relationships, his next fix, and finally God.
When Dale returns to college he meets Carla, a quiet, strong, and stable woman of Quaker background who performs minister-like duties for the school. They marry, live in her single-room apartment, and have the first of four children (all girls). He highlights with detached, almost clinical, objectivity and candor more obstacles, burdens, and personal challenges that he, his wife, and their four children face and
oovercome while he completes college. This addictive pattern persists when he goes on to medical school (it takes him seven years to complete a four-year program) with few physical resources, yet with some intangibles, co-dependencies, and support.
This remarkable story documents the author's ongoing struggles with addiction, personality changes, deteriorating relationships, reduced physical/emotional health (e.g. liver, kidney, gall bladder, ulcer, pain, infections, depression), poor job/family performance, and many disappointments. Dale's struggles with addiction, mood swings, and grandiose thinking, coupled with lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulative behavior, finally are confronted and treated. This symptomatic behavioral pattern used to hide, feed, maintain, and reduce the effects of withdrawal, tolerance, and dependency on drugs has to be honestly dealt with and realistically grounded for survival.
Faith, Love and Overcoming offers a realistic look at AA, its revered focus on a higher power, and the necessary twelve steps to alcohol and drug treatment starting with inpatient/outpatient services, Al-Anon, Co-Dependency, and Al-A-Teen groups support. The work makes no claims of originality and, at times, makes assertions which appear to be exaggerations or unsupported statements without research evidence or factual references provided
(e.g., p. 165, "an estimated sixty percent of the Medicare dollars spent in the United States are spent on the last two weeks of life"), but notwithstanding some shortcomings, the book is recommended for its dedicated and targeted population. After all is said and done, "problems are inevitable, suffering is optional."